Monday, 25 July 2011

While the sun shines

    It's hay making season in my part of the world. Very evocative smell, that of fresh hay. It takes me back several decades to the golden summers of the 1970s when we used to make hay.
    Everybody's childhood summers are golden, aren't they. In my case it's true as it happens, here in the UK we had a run of droughts. Every Brit who was alive in 1976 remembers where they were when it first rained.
    Our haymaking was a bit archaic even by 1970s standards. A Fordson Major and the kind of machine that was not uncommon in the years following the war, a rotary hay turner converted from horse drawn to a three-point linkage. Both machines long-gone now, the hay-turner surviving longer than the tractor.
    Our neighbours have a much bigger machine, a modern John Deere and a multi-headed hay-turner that unfolds on hydraulic rams to cover much more area. He can do in half an hour what it would have taken the Fordson half a day to achieve. Progress, and in this case that's a good thing. It's tempting to be nostalgic as I was when I snapped this pic of another farmer using a red Fergie for the job a few years ago, but given the choice of a morning on the metal seat of the Fordson versus half an hour in the air-conditioned Deere I know which I'd choose!


  1. Woa, summer of '76, you've set me off thinking now.

  2. The Fordson of course! Yeah, sure! Funny I cannot remember 1976 specifically except that is was the year E and I moved into our first house which I seem to remember was in the month of July and it was in the same year I moved into a new job, one that I stayed in until I went free-lance in 1997. Life was one big party in those days, that's why it is difficult to remember some things!

    Shirley Anne xxx

  3. Ah, '76, the first year of my graduate school, and the first time I spent the weekend dressing. That weekend I let the 'genie' out of the bottle, but had to stuff her back in the best I could.

  4. It was even warm in Scotland that summer of '76.

  5. I was convinced that I had this red Massey-Ferguson as a Matchbox toy. Possibly, but looking around I came across this collection which gave me a few happy moments :)

  6. Big Dave on the farm next door was happily installed in the cab of a brand new David Brown; I did not envy him at all on a sunny day in the haymaking time.... our Kerry sheep used to lie in the windrows to get out of the sun a little, and leapt out of a hayburst to escape the woofler as I bore down on them.... Big Dave reminded me rather of Cynddylan on his tractor. Just rather bigger all round, as it were....

  7. I am certain I was happily cross-dressing in the summer of '76. Ah, the things you can get away with as a young child!

    It amuses me what was considered a big tractor in these parts in the 1970s, and how puny they look now. Earlier in the summer I happened to see a tractor rally pass by and among it was one of the articulated 4WD Masseys that another neighbour had. It would be dwarfed by the Deere doing the hay-turning.

    I think I may have had a red Fergie matchbox toy. Probably still do, in a box somewhere.